Boys Soccer Remains Resilient in Successive Games

Jack Alexander ’25 received a red card in Wednesday’s game against Bridgton.

Andover Boys Soccer demonstrated grit and determination this week after facing off the undefeated Taft School (Taft) and the post-graduate team Bridgton Academy (Bridgton). The matches ended in a 1-1 tie on Saturday and a 2-0 triumph on Wednesday, respectively. Its record now stands at 4 -1-1.

Playing away at Taft proved to be a challenge for Boys Soccer, according to Julian Gravereaux ’24. Gravereaux commented on the game’s intense atmosphere and Taft’s passionate student section, but despite that, the team remained alert.

“It was an intense game throughout. Taft had a loud and rowdy student section, which contributed to the tense atmosphere. In the second half, we got tired and made some mistakes. Some players got yellow cards, but defensively and mentally we were strong,” said Gravereaux. 

Andover kept a strong defensive line throughout the game. Even when Taft scored a goal, Andover was able to bounce back. Goalkeeper Jack Alexander ’25 applauded the team’s tactical strategy.

“Our defense was solid throughout the game. Taft’s goal came from a corner, and we recognize set pieces as an area to improve. Overall, the team did their job well, making things easier for me. When Taft did break through, my focus was simply on keeping the ball out,” said Alexander.

Co-Captain Ellis Denby ’24 emphasized the need for mental focus and composure during highly anticipated games. Although the game ended in a draw, Denby credited the players for controlling the flow of the game.

Denby said, “We all kept our cool and our heads level. We came away with a point, so it is not a bad result, although we would’ve liked to have scored a winner. I am really proud of the focus and mental toughness of everyone on our team. We kept possession the whole game and didn’t give the other team too much space or respect when they were on the ball.”

Co-Captain Alex Torrens ’24 pinpointed areas of improvement for the team based on the Taft game, such as penetrating the mid-block earlier on in the game. 

“Something we need to work on is our ability to break down mid-blocks. Taft, for large parts of the game, sat in a mid-block, and sometimes we had difficulties finding how to break it down in the first half,” said Torrens.

Wednesday’s game against Bridgton Academy brought its own set of challenges, with goalkeeper Alexander receiving a red card on a breakaway and second-string goalkeeper Tristan Marnoto ’24 sidelined due to an injury. The team adapted by subbing in Camden Willems PG’24, a field player, as goalkeeper. Liam Rorke PG’24 emphasized  the team’s resilience and cohesiveness, maintaining its 2-0 lead until the final whistle.

“It was an interesting game. I think obviously going down, having our goalie get a red card really early was pretty tough for us, but we responded really well… So we were able to win and played [the] game really well, [the team] stayed together the whole game,” said Rorke.

With the playoffs coming up, Gravereaux shared that the team is focusing on winning when it can and adapting to the more difficult matches.

Gravereaux said, “Making the playoffs is tough. There’s little room for error. We had some tough results against Milton and Taft, so we have to focus on winning the games we can and trying to get something from the tougher matches.”

Andover Boys Soccer will play Choate Rosemary Hall at home this Saturday and Pingree School away on Wednesday.